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What's your reason for living?

Johnson City Press • Updated Jun 10, 2018 at 4:34 PM

Fans were shocked last week to learn of two celebrity deaths, fashion designer Kate Spade and chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, both of apparent suicide.

Their obituaries were published on the heels of data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a 30 percent increase in suicide deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2016. According to the report, nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, making it the 10th most common cause of death in the U.S. and a contributor to a drop in life expectancy for our citizens.

With the tragic events, journalists and editors were faced with the dilemma of reporting on the high-profile deaths and the weighty statistics and trying not to contribute to “suicide contagion,” a spike in suicides after celebrities take their own lives.

One way, experts say, is to avoid using graphic detail to describe the manners of their deaths. Others recommend encouraging people to seek help and publishing  messages of hope.

Anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts should seek help from his or her mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

For the latter part, we’d like your help. We’re dedicating the Question of the Week to your messages of hope.

What’s your reason for living?

Please send your comments to [email protected]. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

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